They call it "The Internet of Things." It means every gadget, appliance and even broom closet will be outfitted with a wireless chip. It means every aspect of the home will feed into a central server where you can monitor energy levels and security. It means smart appliances that do more than just save power -- they will adjust the refrigerator's cooling and even predict when you need the clothes washed. Read on to find out how.
Keep the term “insulated concrete forms” in your memory bank. These foam blocks, stacked together liked LEGO bricks, will fit together to form an airtight barrier. The roof will also feature foam insulation between plywood panels that fit together like tongue-and-groove siding. High-efficiency windows will keep the air inside the house, and an inverted butterfly roof will collect rain water and feed it into a storage tank for watering your lawn. An open living space will reduce the need for artificial light. And the best part? This future home, designed by Ryan Thewes, will be constructed this summer.
Home automation has grown in fits and starts -- today's security cameras and motion sensors are still too complicated. A new standard called ZigBee RF4CE might help pick up the pace. This small wireless sensor could be used in light switches, doors and windows, and even in your Blu-Ray player in the living room. All of these connections will feed to a central server, which you’ll be able to access from your phone. And all those sensors will connect together; when you leave for the day, press one button on your phone to turn off all of the lights -- or program a system to only leave a few lights on.
Light sensors and motion detectors will help monitor your home at night, automatically detecting an intruder, turning on all of the lights, and sounding the alarm. Today, many of these sensors are not inter-connected, so a sensor for the front door lock doesn’t know there is an intruder in the back yard. GreenPeak Technologies, a company that makes ultra-low power wireless sensors, claims the future home will be connected with a sensor in just about every appliance and electrical device.
Entertainment systems will tie into every other gadget in the home too. For example, with a ZigBee radio in your DVR or Blu-Ray player, motion detectors in the living room, and a connected lighting system, your home will know you have sat down to watch a movie and dim the lights. When you turn on the air-conditioning (or better yet, the house sense an outside temp change and starts cooling automatically), you’ll see a warning on your screen if there’s a window open on the upper level or that you’ve left a ceiling fan running in the den.
In the home of the future, touchscreen displays will be everywhere. Corning Glass is famous for the Gorilla Glass material used on many smartphones, making them more durable. In a widely viewed video, the company showcased several possibly innovations in touchscreen displays. Dr. Peter L. Bocko, Chief Technology Officer at Corning, told FoxNews.com about some of the features in development. One is an anti-smudging material. Today, Gorilla Glass has a coating to reduce grime. But as future glass will prevent smudges altogether. He also explained how "electrochromic" or see through glass will provide better home control -- letting you touch the screen and see the room behind the glass.
Touchscreens will also work on surfaces like this one in the kitchen. Bocko says the company is working on another chemical process that eliminates germ build-ups on these displays, which will be used in common meeting areas. These displays will also use future nanotechnology and complex internal circuits so that all you see is the glass, not the bezel of the display or any electronics. Bocko says future displays will not only be capable of working as a heating element (say, as a stove top), but the glass would know when you reach to touch the surface and turn cool immediately.
The future home will be self-sustaining – using rain water it collects on the roof, this concept – called the Incredible Edible House – would water vegetables that can feed a family of four. Three stacked levels, each one 10 x 14 x 20, would create 1400 square feet of living space. Wind turbines and photovoltaic solar awnings on the roof would provide energy for the home.
The self-sustaining house would feature all-glass six-foot “win-doors” that let the sunshine in during the day, but also open so residents can walk outside into patios. The house is not just a concept – the 30 x 45 foot design is being refined for production in urban areas in the next few years.
The future home will work more like your iPhone. You’ll be able to control appliances with your voice to dim the lights, change the volume on your stereo, and even set the time on your alarm clock. Yet, all of the home systems will be tied together on one network, so when you say basic commands – like “goodnight” – your home will know you are going to bed and will power down appliances, dim lights, and even change temperature controls. Another perk of the future home: it will work like the Microsoft Kinect. Using hand gestures, you’ll be able to start the dishwasher and select which movie to play on popcorn night, or browse through a library of photos on your HD television.
The domicile of the future won’t look much like our suburban abode of today: Every gadget, TV, appliance, and even broom closet will be outfitted with a wireless chip. Read on to see future innovations that will be coming soon to a front door near you.